While remakes and starting over have been around since people started telling stories, they’ve been around a lot in the last 20 years. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. Guess the best definition is that a remake can use new characters, settings, etc., while using the same old story. A reboot will change everything: story, setting or otherwise, except for a few small details to keep it familiar.
Usually this means keeping the main character relatively familiar. DC Comics has several incarnations of Batman, but most of them are the usual brooding loner in a dark Batsuit. But some franchisees, like these popular ones video game seriesgot really daring and also changed the main character’s personalities.
6/6 Double Dragon Neon
Wayforward Technologies’ 2012 revival of the classic Technos beat ’em up Double dragon wasn’t exactly rewriting a novel. On paper, it’s identical to the 1987 game: a woman named Marian is kidnapped by a gang, and her boyfriend Billy Lee and his brother Jimmy must go and rescue her. They take to the streets and crush any gang members who come after them with their keen martial arts skills.
However, the Technos games had a bit of a serious presentation to them – or at least as serious as ’80s action movies got. NeonThe Lee Brothers make self-referential gags and jokes all over the place, whether they’re using guns (“KNIFE to meet you!”), or teasing each other like jocks from a John Hughes movie. It was still fun, even if this Saturday Morning Cartoon approach didn’t please older fans.
5/6 Bionic Commando
Grin Software’s 2009 revival of the classic Capcom platformer wasn’t technically a reboot. However, there wasn’t much of a connection between their game and the original 80s platformers. These games were more like cheesy action movies, as the shadowy Rad Spencer swung his Bionic Arm around and fought Nazis. The new Bionic Commando was a grittier, serious affair that tried to match the tone of the Infamous and Prototype.
Rad Spencer had dreads and a bitter attitude, and the original Command Super Joe became a corrupt official. It was a world away from Grin’s last match, Bionic Commando: Rearmed, which kept that action movie charm and a more confident, happy version of Rad. The newer game flopped, but Rad’s new look lived on Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.
4/6 Death for Rights: Retaliation
Death to rights wasn’t exactly a classic, but this Namco game gained an avid fan base. It was more like a 90s/2000s action flick this time around, as the lead Jack Slate was an anti-hero who would rather let his K-9 partner Shadow eat the book than go after it. The game was Max Payne with a drop Grand Theft Auto, with Slate’s snark and amoral attitude. It was grim, but tongue-in-cheek. But after two sequels, Bandai-Namco got serious.
They had Volatile Games made Death for Rights: Retaliation. It was still the same hard-boiled police adventure, but Jack was now an everyman hero stuck in the middle of a conspiracy, with only Shadow to rely on. In other words, he became like every other video game hero at the time. Slate was as generic as his acting, a combination that has left Death to rights simply dead since 2010.
3/6 Blades of Time
Despite their faults, at least both incarnations of Death to rights were playable. The original X-Blades was a notoriously terrible hack n’ slasher by Gaijin Entertainment. It was about a treasure hunter named Ayumi who used the X-Blades to fight a great evil. She was a confident comic trope who wanted to keep her findings to herself, and her fanservice design made her look more like something out of an R-rated anime OVA.
So gaijin Entertainment gave it a second chance under Konami with Blades of Time. It was better, in the sense that it was mediocre rather than outright bad. It changed Ayumi from a generic anime design to a Lara Croft clone, complete with a British accent. While the original Ayumi didn’t have much character depth, the new Ayumi’s dry, moody act wasn’t much of an improvement.
2/6 Tomb Raider (2013)
Speaking of Lara Croft, this gaming icon has been given a bit of a refresh since her original debut in 1996. After Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness brought an end to her peak, she was given a soft restart with Crystal Dynamics’ Tomb Raider: Legend. The new version was still recognizable as the sexy and confident heroine from the old games. She just had a dark past to uncover and a support team at the ready.
She was relaunched for 2013 Grave robber, where she got a new origin story as an archeology graduate who ends up adrift on the lost island of Yamatai. Through adversity, she learns to fight back and gradually becomes a confident treasure hunter. Although she wasn’t a badass action heroine like before, her more down-to-earth character arc was successful enough to keep Lara in the spotlight for two sequels.
1/6 DmC: Devil May Cry
This is perhaps the most infamous example of personality switching in games. Ninja Theory’s reboot of Capcom’s devil may cry the series really left a sour taste in fans’ mouths. Game-wise it wasn’t too bad, and it was even better when Definitive edition fixed the bugs like the lack of a lock function. Still, their game couldn’t hold a candle next to the main series, especially when they failed to fix their biggest flaw: their new Dante.
He was cocky and had one-liners for days like the original. Yet his attitude was different. He was supposed to be more punk rock, with a foul mouth and an attitude to match. But at best he came off as more of an attempt, and at worst the world’s second biggest jerk (after Vergil and his M’lady Fedora). He got better, and could have worked if he got a sequel to make him more fleshed out. However, even the most righteous fan will find it difficult to accept one DmC2 above Devil May Cry 5.
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